‘It’s all my fault’
When parents separate, children of any age have a natural tendency to believe it is their fault. They view their parents as two perfect people and therefore any breakdown must be due to them.
A number of behaviours you might see as a child’s response to separation are:
- self injurious behaviours
- anxious behaviours such as, avoiding social contact, or worrying about school performance, or worrying about the wellbeing of a parent
- eating too much or too little
Consider the following if you are in this challenging situation:
It is okay to show emotions to your children. Show them how it is ok to feel that way and that you can move through it.However it is important to share the experience with them in an age appropriate manner for example, 3 year olds will have much less understanding of what is happening than a 6 year old.
Do not speak poorly about the other parent, or to ask your child questions about the parent when you are with them such as, ‘what is Dad doing? Who was he with?’
Try to model appropriate interactions when meeting with your former partner by not engaging in arguments of other forms of conflict, and shielding your children from hostility as far as possible.
We recommend this so that your children feel free to love both parents, as after all you both remain the most important people in the world to them.
If this is an area you are currently living through, please contact us for further support and information at firstname.lastname@example.org